The IPL, true to its progenitor’s boast, has outstripped and outlived the best of soap operas Indian audiences may have seen or heard. When cricketing action is not being shown live on TV, its assortment of protagonist’s – bollywood heroes, business tycoons, marketing gurus and now the investigators – are in the limelight.
Debates about its viability, the need to inject transparency and the financial bungling indulged in by all those associated with this “great brand” continue to occupy space in newspapers and on TV channels.
The inquisition is on, but no one knows what the end of this story will be. Will the denouement be as gripping as the middle chapters of this thrilling drama?
The Indian Board, who had found in Lalit Modi the man who created this golden goose, is now plotting to get him behind bars. In this exclusive club of elite wars, efforts are on to find out who stole whose money and in whose pockets does it rest now. In short whose pocket suffered the biggest hole?
Even Modi, in his best dreams would not have envisaged a future where he would have become a fugitive in his own land. I wouldn’t be surprised if the man, who loves the arc lights and wants to remain in focus all the time, is not enjoying each moment of this hide and seek game.
The story is never lacking in the twists and turns which keep a potboiler running. Just when the plot may have been losing steam and turning into a hackneyed, clichéd tale of corporate greed, political manipulation and bumbling officials conniving to milk the Indian public’s main passion – cricket – the story got a new lease of life.
Enter an iconic player, most respected, idolized and till now believed to be cricket’s conscience keeper. The Little Master is our hero and a player who made us believe in ourselves through his batting exploits against the most fearsome bowling attacks. He gave our cricket respect and dignity and needs to be given more than a fair trial.
Sunil Gavaskar’s compromises as governing council member in letting Modi do his biddings unchecked may still be pardoned as acts of omission, but he is now being accused of pushing the Kochi franchise case in direct conflict with his position. He has denied this but the soap opera has got enough grease to keep it running for a few months more.
What a fascinating story. Do we need cricket anymore?